January 29, 2014

Review: Stolen Wishes by Lexi Ryan

January 29, 2014
A novella in the New Hope series by Lexi Ryan that tells the story of the first time William and high school sweetheart, Cally, first met and fell in love. Can be read before or after the first or second books. Did I mention it's FREE!?

Unbreak Me (book 1): Amazon | B&N | iBooksKobo | BAM | BD
Wish I May (book 2): Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooksBAM | BD

Title: Stolen Wishes
Series: New Hope #1.5
Author: Lexi Ryan
Publisher: Ever After LLC
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance


A sexy smile. Intense blue eyes. A goodness that makes him want to save me from these rumors when no one else would care. I didn't ask for a hero. William Bailey was never supposed to be anything more than a wish, a dream, an unrequited crush. Not for a girl like me--a girl whose fractured family has stolen her chance at a decent life.

Since the death of my parents, I've always done what’s expected of me, what's "best" for me. Until Cally. The moment her haunted eyes meet mine, the fractured pieces of my heart feel whole again. I don’t just want to save her. I need her to save me.

Stolen chances. Unbroken wishes. Two lonely souls grasping for hope in the darkness. 

**This novella takes place seven years before the events in WISH I MAY and shows William and Cally falling in love for the first time. It can be read before or after WISH I MAY or on its own.**

**Contains sexual content and adult language and situations. Intended for mature readers.**

I can't say that I have had the pleasure of reading either of the full-length novels (yet), but that did not deter me from reading the novella. Telling from the reviews, I think it's best for me to read about how it all began before I start the series because I would probably misjudge William as well. Now that I have read this, I can't wait to jump into the rest of the series and see how it all unfolds and come full circle.

The story takes place when Cally and William are both near the end of their high school career. Cally doesn't have the best homelife. It's not even decent. Cally struggles with her drug addict of a mom who does massages and "favors" for her clients, and she gets the brunt of the blow for her mother's reputation. In that, you get to see how messed up her mom really is and how far off the deep end she has gone. I'm just going to put that out there -- blowing a high school school student for any reason when you're a 30-40 year old is revolting. Cally's dad is in his own world and gets lost in books (something I can relate to) and I can't say that I don't blame him. However, that easily makes him a pushover and easy to step on. It's up to Cally to take care of her younger siblings. I really feel for, not only Cally, but her little siblings as well. That is not the type of life and environment they should be exposed to and live with. It's unfortunate that situations like theirs really does exist in the real world, and it affects those in or around it.

One night, Cally gets propositioned at school football stands, and before things take a nasty turn, Cally's knight in shining armor comes to her rescue in form of William Bailey. Cally has had a crush on him forever, unbeknownst the feelings are indeed reciprocated, and accepts his offer to walk her home. Since then, they hang out more and their feelings grow deeper. But just before they get to enjoy being a couple, Cally receives news that will separate her from William. And her dad. Her parents are getting a divorce and Cally's mom is moving them to Las Vegas. It's already bad enough that William's college plans are an hour or so away from home, but that's more doable than Cally having no choice but to move across the country. Cally finds that they can't make it work with all that distance between them, so she ends it with William.

I like the fact that we get to jump into both Cally and William's minds to really know how deep their feelings are for each other. And to get an understanding that golden boy, William Bailey, isn't as perfect as the school makes him to believe. He does what is expected of him. Living up to plans that are not his own. And he still hurts from losing both his parents, so when he saw the haunting look in Cally's eyes and shares some pain under different circumstances, he becomes drawn to her. They feel that pain in their lives that they share, and feel that they heal each other. I know that if I read the first two books, I would have deeply underestimated William's character, as I've already mentioned before. I know this novella takes place 8 years prior, and a lot can change in those years, but boy was he genuine, honest, trustworthy, and patient back in the day.

The ending wrapped up quite abruptly. It was vague, to say the least. I guess there's a reason for that. At first I didn't get it, but reading the first chapter of the second book (which is about their reunion), it makes a little sense. I say that because supposedly the break up Cally enforced on their relationship was so painful, it made Cally regret it and should have made William hate her. Although we don't know what went down during that break up in detail, it's apparent that it will unfold and be revealed later on in the continuation of their story. I know I said that I haven't read either of the books, but I got the info of their reunion from the first chapter of Wish I May (book 2) that was in the back of this novella. I was more than relieved that Cally's mother decided to finally pull her head out of her ass in hopes of staying clean and starting fresh, leaving her old ways behind. Unfortunately, her mother couldn't have picked the absolute worst place to do so. Las Vegas. The epitome of temptation and sin. That is a relapse waiting to happen.

All in all, besides their messy life back in the day, the story of how they first fell in love was endearing and kept me engaged. Their feelings were real and true and it easily flowed. To say I was disappointed their time together was cut short would be an understatement. I wanted to see where they go from there before their carefully laid out plans went to ruins. At least that spark of hope for them rekindles in the continuation of their story when they reunite 8 years later in Wish I May.

Purchase Stolen Wishes (free)
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About the author
Author of both contemporary and paranormal romance, Lexi Ryan writes smart, spunky stories that sizzle. She enjoys reading, sunshine, a good glass of wine, and rare trips to the beach with her husband and children.
Lexi lives in Indiana where she divides her time between her family, her writing, and her job as an English professor. You can find her at her website: lexiryan.com

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